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SUPPORT WHEN (AND WHERE!) YOU MOST NEED IT

Did you know using the bathroom is one of the most potentially dangerous activities we do in daily life?

Figures indicate that more accidents and falls ‘on the level’ happen in the bathroom- getting in, out of the bath, shower, and on and off the toilet- than in any other room.

Yet a little forethought about appropriate support equipment can reduce the risk, and make it a safe haven, for BOTH the user and their carer…

Appropriate fixtures enable a person to continue to undertake their personal hygiene as independently as possible, for as long as possible. They give additional support for carers too. That is just as important- an injured carer cannot care, requiring investment of further resources.

Proactive planning creates a safe environment for everyone involved, reducing the need for reactive care, which can involve anything from use of health services, a hospital stay, and/or provision of additional care support, whether in a domestic or residential environment.

In the bathroom, the main area to address is the WC: it is used more than any other fixture therein.

The key with any support system, from a grab rail to a ceiling track hoist, is to ensure the support structure- the wall, the ceiling- is suitably load bearing, strong enough to withstand the load, and it is securely and suitably fixed. Imagine the consequences of grabbing a rail, for it to fall off the wall!

Something as simple as a grab rail can make a huge difference. Even that doesn’t have to be a rail per se: often, it is the rim of the washbasin. But it needs to be within a comfortable distance: having to stretch to reach creates the risk of overbalancing and falling….

Grab rails are the obvious, but support is a much wider area.

Support arms fixed to or adjacent to the WC play a dual role: they not only help the user get on and off the toilet, they ensure they are sat safely whilst ‘going’.

Most are ‘fold-away’, so can be lifted up independent of each other to enable easy access and transfer from either side, then simply lowered into place as needed.

On the subject of support whilst using the WC, were you aware that there are also options to provide additional security for smaller, slighter, people- adults and children?

Versions include backrests and lateral supports, to ensure the user is sat in the right position, securely and supported.

Up a level, a toilet lifter may provide the additional stability needed when getting on and off.

Research is advised to ensure the most suitable is chosen: most versions lift and tilt. If you have control over the lower limbs, the lifter takes you safely from standing to over the pan and up again. Some users report they feel unbalanced and unstable with the tilting action.

An alternative would be a vertical lift, which does not affect the body angle and feeling of stability.

A toilet lifter still enables a degree of independence in using the WC. However, if leg and/or arm mobility and strength is minimal, the most appropriate solution may be a hoist, to optimise safety for both the user and carer.

Key considerations are:

– that the hoist can be designed so that it easily reaches the fixtures and fittings within the room,
– it can be easily transferred onto and off
– that if ceiling-mounted, the structure is strong enough to bear the weight when ‘loaded’, if floor-mounted/mobile, that the floor is strong enough
– that it is easy for the carer to move when ‘occupied’

With the right choice(s), the activity of daily living (ADL) of going to the toilet can be done safely, and with dignity, not just for the person who needs to ‘go’, but the carer too.

Details of Closomat’s range of support systems for independent toilet hygiene can be found at

w – www.clos-o-mat.com,

e – info@clos-o-mat.com,

tel – 0161 969 1199

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